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2X2 4WD: 1983 AMC Eagle SX4

This 1983 AMC Eagle SX/4 is one interesting car. The design of these little 4WD hatchbacks is from an era that I wish would come back to the marketplace. This one can be found here on eBay in Monroe, Ohio and the seller has a $4,000 buy it now price listed.

They mention the dent on the top of the RF fender but that doesn’t look too bad, although it’ll be hard to massage it out with the crease in it. Are there any new AWD two-door hatchbacks like this? Or, any small, jacked-up AWD vehicles being made today? Not that I can think of but maybe some company makes one somewhere.

A couple of the photos were really (really) small, like thumbnail size, my apologies for the pixelated photo above. AMC Eagle made the SX/4 and also my personal favorite, the Kammback both in 4WD and both just so head-turningly unusual that I can’t help but love these things. This car was the owner’s daily driver until a year ago but their life has moved elsewhere and that’s why it’s for sale.

The interior looks nice in this car, other than the headliner which has been removed. The back seat is probably a bit tight for us tall folks but it looks great back there. All is not well with this car, however. The seller says that there are some tears on the driver’s side carpet area, and that’s the least of our worries. They mention that the 4WD system needs to be rebuilt. Ouch.

They had the carb rebuilt for this AMC 258 cubic-inch inline-six which would have had 110 hp. The transmission was also rebuilt a decade ago and all of that is great but until the 4×4 system gets diagnosed and fixed I don’t know if they’ll get the $4,000 asking price. Any thoughts on this SX/4?


  1. That AMC Guy

    “4X4 system needs to be rebuilt” could mean a number of things, some easy fixes, some not so easy.

    The 4WD system is vacuum-activated on Eagles. Frequently if it doesn’t engage it’s due to a problem with the vacuum lines. I think an ’83 would have the front axle disconnect (also vacuum operated) that can also be a source of problems. There’s a way to permanently engage the axle which would make it work like the later Eagles where the axle disconnect was discontinued.

    Of course it’s possible the transfer case needs attention. A common problem is the viscous fluid leaking out, which makes for an open center differential but it will otherwise work. Or it might really be shot and in need of a complete rebuild.

    Like 5
  2. Jay

    Subaru has 4wd……

    Like 0
    • That AMC Guy

      Probably the closest thing to this would be a Crosstrek, but that’s a 4-door hatchback. As far as I can recall the only 2-door model in Subaru’s lineup is the BRZ sports model, which is rear drive.

      Like 1
  3. David

    As a teen of about 14 or 15 a family friend had one new. I remember being crammed into the back seat. The back seat of the SX4 is suitable only for people with removable legs. Seriously, with a normal sized adult in the front seat there is barely enough room for your calves between the seat back and the rear seat cushion but you need a femur only 6″ long to fit. Imagine being 14 and 6′ 1″ trying to sit back there. NOT a fond memory.

    Like 2
    • That AMC guy

      Well, it’s basically a restyled Gremlin. That’s what happens when you chop a foot off the wheelbase of a Hornet. :) Probably best to regard these as two-passenger vehicles and just leave the back “seat” folded down for cargo.

      Like 1
  4. chrlsful

    no passengers in my vehicle (but frnt pass.) so it wrks.
    Any AW/4WD that’s small (but not “British/Jap sm”) and a hatch or wagon
    is just right 4 me. Like the price too !

    Like 1
  5. Jack

    “Out corners TransAm in loose gravel…..”

    Yes, that was a quote from an AMC commercial.

    Like 1
  6. Karl

    I remember when these vehicles came out they seemed rather short lived and fairly high maintenance especially the 4 WD system seemed very troublesome. I think the concept was very futuristic especially looking at what’s on the road today, granted most are 4 door but you can’t throw a stick without hitting one today!

    Like 0
  7. joebazots

    Suzuki later on made a 4WD small car and even called it the SX4. I always thought these were cool little cars.

    Like 0

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